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World Cup blog: Dhoni & Co. 'bigger stars' than Jagger & Stones?

February 17, 2015 14:33 IST

Why Dhoni & Co. are 'bigger stars' than Jagger & Stones

Mahendra Singh Dhoni with the Indian team

India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni leads the team off the field. Photograph: Daniel Kalisz/Getty Images

Lokendra Pratap Sahi of The Telegraph, Calcutta, catches the hungama inside the Adelaide airport terminal building that was caused by 100-odd fans of Indian origin once they spotted Dhoni and Co. who had to catch a flight to Melbourne.

A lady police officer who was on duty both during the Stones' visit to Adelaide last October and Sunday's India-Pakistan blockbuster says: "I haven't seen the frenzy I saw at the ground... These guys are bigger stars than Jagger and the Stones... Just look at what's happening at the airport at this very moment...

"Of course, I don't know how fans will react to One Direction... We'll get to know soon," she stated, on Monday morning.

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Ashwin crafting a masterly spell

Ravichandran Ashwin

Ravichandran Ashwin celebrates a wicket. Photograph: Gareth Copley/Getty Images

The off-spinner needs to be given the freedom to bowl attackingly with a focus on wickets, not on the scoring rate, says R Kaushik in Wisden India.

Three maiden overs at the top of the innings, against a side chasing 301 for victory, is commendable even in isolation. That it came against Pakistan, easily one of the better sides when it comes to playing the turning ball, made Ashwin’s exploits even more impressive. Most eye-catching, though, was the manner in which Ashwin constructed his overs. He was brisk between balls in walking back to his run-up and was ready to trot on the moment the batsman went into his stance, but he never appeared hurried or in a rush. He was accurate, obviously, but he wasn’t merely firing darts. There was guile in terms of drift and loop and dip; there was reasonable turn too as both Ahmed Shehzad and Haris Sohail, the left-hand batsmen, found themselves tied up in knots.

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World Cup Express: A giant from another era at Adelaide Oval

A general view of the Adelaide Oval. Photograph: Morne de Klerk/Getty Images

Sandeep Dwivedi of the Indian Express catches up with the 51-year-old Simon Crompton, the man in-charge of the over 100-year-old Adelaide Oval scoreboard which has 100 bulbs methodically flashing while giving a detailed ball-by-ball account of the game.

He works at a place that is three feet wide and has a roof that’s barely 7 feet high. A typical day at office would mean switching on 3000 bulbs and running up and down several flights of stairs. About a million dollars were spent to renovate his work place recently but his one-window unventilated cabin, with a jet black front, still makes him lose 3 to 4 kgs on days when the unforgiving Australian sun beats down relentlessly.

It doesn’t just record the contribution of the batsmen and bowlers; it also acknowledges the contribution of the fielders. Adelaide is the only ground in the world where a fielder can’t hide or be anonymous. Be it a stunning catch, a drop or even a regular pick up and throw, the scoreboard will recognise every fielding effort on the ground.

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I worry about Morgan's mindset

Eoin Morgan

England captain Eoin Morgan looks on during a nets session. Photograph: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

England look like startled rabbits and the captain Eoin Morgan needs to rediscover his free spirit to lead from the front, writes Michael Vaughan in the Telegraph.

I want to see the old Eoin Morgan back. He used to take risks. He was the X-factor player. I would tell him to go away over the next few days, hit some balls and rediscover that free spirit we have all enjoyed watching in one-day cricket.

Easier said than done, but he has seven one-day international hundreds. His strike rate is 85. He has three hundreds against Australia. So we know he can do it against the best.

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From sticks and stones to World Cup: Afghanistan a cricketing fairytale

Nawroz Mangal of Afghanistan bats. Photograph: Daniel Kalisz/Getty Images

National team's astonishing success brought the war-torn country together - now the rest of the world must help, says Scyld Berry in the Sydney Morning Herald.

It is the happiest story in cricket, the opposite of what is happening to the West Indies. Or the closest that cricket has come to a fairy story.

Twenty years ago cricket did not exist to all intents in war-ravaged Afghanistan. On Wednesday, their national team will play Bangladesh in their first 50-over World Cup match, and have every chance of beating that fragile Test-playing country, as they did in their only previous ODI encounter.

The rest of Afghanistan's qualifying matches are against Sri Lanka, Scotland, Australia - at Perth of all venues - New Zealand and England. Some progress, that is, since playing their first match in 2004 against Oman, and losing it by four wickets.

Enthusiastic hunger. This has been the secret of Afghanistan's meteoric rise, the like of which cricket has never known. Obstacles which no other country has seen - total devastation by a whole generation of war - have been overcome, thanks to this attitude.

Afghanistan have never played a game at home, and perhaps never will. Yet, without home advantage they have driven themselves to be the equal of Ireland, Scotland, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe. What might they not have achieved in their own stadium at Kabul, Khost or Jalalabad, roared on by their own supporters?

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- The World Cup, as never before on Rediff.com

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